retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The National Retail Federation (NRF) was out with its quarterly Consumer View study this week, just as the annual NRF Big Show took place in New York City.

Some of the findings:

• “Whether shopping in-store or online, consumers are typically seeking to buy a certain item rather than just browsing, with 73 percent surveyed saying that’s the case with stores and 54 percent online, according to the report. And in either case, 58 percent rated being able to find what they want quickly and easily as their top factor in determining where to shop. Shopping ‘just to browse’ has shifted to being more popular online (done by 46 percent of those surveyed) than in stores (27 percent).”

• “Among those shopping online, 68 percent expect free shipping even on purchases of less than $50, with 47 percent saying they typically back out if shipping isn’t free. And 38 percent expect two-day shipping to be free while 24 percent expect free same-day shipping.”

• “The quality of customer service is also a top factor in deciding where to shop, cited by 44 percent, along with speed and simplicity of checkout (42 percent) and the ability to try out products (20 percent). Consumers said their overall experience with a brand or retailer is important in determining which to buy from and how often (79 percent each) and how loyal or connected they feel (77 percent).”

• “The survey found 59 percent of consumers are interested in special events retailers hold to draw customers into stores or onto websites, including the ability to try out products, exclusive access to sales, demonstrations and product tutorials. Millennials are particularly enthusiastic about special events – 44 percent said they were “very interested” compared with 25 percent of consumers overall. And Millennial men (60 percent) were more likely to be ‘very’ interested than Millennial women (28 percent).”

• “The report said fewer than a third of consumers were aware of technological innovations such as 3D printing or making purchases through social media (29 percent each), in-app store navigation (28 percent), in-store digital displays (25 percent) or retail messaging apps and online chat (24 percent). But among those that were, messaging apps and chat were the technology that had most often been tried (65 percent) while in-app store navigation was most-cited as improving the shopping experience (63 percent).”
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